When I got “After The Sun” in the mail about six weeks ago, I wondered whether the Barman (whose review follows this but was published first) had it right.
Doesn’t seem to matter these days about influences, except to the sad bearded bastards desperate to appear interesting, and besides, I particularly enjoy listening to a CD cold, without the hype and boosterism. But … if you like rock’n’roll, and have ever kicked yourself (like me with Leadfinger) that you weren’t on the ground floor of a band on the elevator heading up fast to the 99th floor…
"Pizza, Punks & Prophets" Barfly Top Ten 2020 Dean Darkloud of The Dark Clouds Wollongong, Australia (Anthony Mitchell photo)
“Rock n Roll ain’t dead. It just sounds a little different”
10. Wreckless Enterprise. Hats off to these two DIY Crazy Cats for doing what they do. With passion and intent, tirelessly flying the flag of creative support. 2020 saw them release, amongst other things the third instalment of their "Short Fuse" compilation series: 15 tracks, all under a minute jammed packed onto a 7” (or CD). It’s a punk rock smorgasbord.
Wreckless Enterprise: keeping the underground above ground. So, if it’s a home grown, all you can eat punk rock buffet that you are after; check out this blossoming grass roots label. "Short Fuse" we salute you!
9. Mike Foxall. The man behind the Art of Fox. You may know him as Inverted Crucifox, guitarist extraordinaire in Neptune Power Federation whom in my opinion are one of Australia's best modern live acts.
Brian Mann and Mick Medew trading licks in Thirroul. Shona Ross photo.
Gonna break that rule about not reviewing I-94 Bar gigs, as the second of this two-night engagement was badged thus. If you can’t write about things you like, what’s the point? It’s the ethos of why we do this e-zine thing.
So let’s be up front and say that Mick Medew is a good mate and his band, The Mesmerisers, are lovely people. In customary evangelical spirit, I’m unashamedly going to tell you that if you love rock and roll then you have to see them - in their native Brisbane or on one of their few forays outside of Queensland.
The first leg of this two-night weekend stand was a support to the mighty Sunnyboys, opening a bill shared with the mercurial Ups & Downs. The venue was the magic Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney. The second was a Sydney show at the increasingly familiar stamping ground of Marrickville Bowling Club. The Mesmerisers are making the road trip a family affair with partners and two offspring in tow.
Earthlings! We The Dark Clouds don’t care who you are! If you like polls, surveys and lists or if you think Shannon Noll is the pits. You’re all going under The Thunder.
1) You know that guy. The keyboard warrior, the one always going on about there is no good music these days. The guy with Brian Mannix as his profile pic. Well strike me lucky and call me Shirley you Putz. Here’s 10 bands in ten seconds: Port Royal, Legs Electric, The Lazys, MASSIVE, Aberration, Grindhouse, Dead Set, The CRAW!, East Coast Low, Electric Mary. See how easy that was. 10 ripper bands in ten seconds.
Radio Birdman is playing just two Australian shows this year - June 21 at The Factory Theatre in Sydney and June 22 at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle - and Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers are joining them for both.
East Coast Low complete the bill in Newcastle and The Dark Clouds join the Sydney line-up.
The support spots will be part of a busy year for Mick Medew and his band with their forthcoming album expected to be out in time for the shows.
Both gigs will sell out with tickets available from both venue websites.
Wollongong-based rockers The Dark Cloudshave just released a new video to preview their forthcoming second album. Always hitting home with their cultural rewferences, there's an obvious nod to "Mad Max" in this one. Here's "MFP".
The Dark Clouds from Wollongong are one of the newer Aussie bands in the Detroit-rock-Dictators mould making an impact on the local underground scene. Here's their debut video for "Lilac Dress" from their debut album, reviewed here. Connect with them on Facebook here.
TheDean fronting The Dark Clouds. Rayna Jeffs photo
1. Sentacruz & the Genre Fluid Blues. The Dark Clouds have been doing what they do for over 10 years now. So I’m pretty comfortable these days to refer to myself as an artist or even a muso. Now sadly for me there is one big negative to playing Rock n Roll. At times I find myself losing the whole “being a music fan” thing. I can get lost in critiquing the production, a snare sound, the arrangement rather than enjoying it for what it is.
So for this Barfly Top 10 I’ll try and throw my muso hat away and write it as the music fan I’ve been since I first heard "Linda Bella Linda" by Daniel Sentacruz Ensemble back in Rome, 1974.
Jeez! I can’t remember what happened yesterday, let alone early 2022. I do know the Dark Clouds played a lot. So much we nearly filled up that tiny little pocket on the front of our jeans from all the cash we made.
10. Private Function!!! Finally got to see them and bloody hell am I glad I did.
“What’s that mate? Never heard of ‘em."
How about you stop banging on about Doc Neeson being the best Aussie frontman of all time, park ya Zimmer frame by the duck pond and have yourself a little nanna nap”. Chris Penney is Neeson, Gleeson, Bon, Stevie Wright, James Reyne and Isabella Manfrediall wrapped into one and turned up to 11.
I saw a lot of shows this year but these guys were standouts. Amazingly entertaining. Chaotic, shambolic, funny & wildly insane. A performance that makes most bands look like chopped liver. A band that makes Jimmy and the Boys look bland. The only band I can think of that comes remotely close to such a wild performance is …. Nobody ya hear! Nobody. A true force of nature. Driving past Albury Wodonga will never ever be the same.
9. WAAX. The new album. What a creeper. Wasn’t too keen on it the 1st couple of listens but I’m glad I kept spinning it. Really cool album. Lyrically smart IMHO. It may not grab everyone. A bit too JJJ as they say but it’s classy! I Got to see them live too. Enigmatic, theatrical, mesmerising & aesthetically pleasing. Incredibly entertaining live band. Sounded just like the record. Maz DeVita is the bomb! What a voice. Superstar performer.
8. Do the Pop festival in Victoria. This was a cracker. Rock stars young and old. So grateful to have been on the bill. Too many brilliant acts over the weekend to mention but the surprise package for me was The Refuge. I bought the EP. It’s good, but as a live act they killed it. Even the guy napping by the duck pond would like ‘em. Check ‘em out 7. The Weed. The Tumbleweedlads have still got it. Whatever the nostalgia event was called, Tumbleweed kicked it off in world class style. Extra special for me because my kids got to see one of their favourite bands with me. Richiehelped me out and got them in the press pit and they took some cracker shots for a school assignment.
Here's one. Pretty cool day out!
6. Stewart Cunningham of Leadfinger I’ve been a Stewart Cunningham fan my whole life. There hasn’t been a thing he has released that I didn’t like. Let’s hope he doesn’t release a Christmas album next year. Yeah - Nah I reckon I’d even like that. The new Leadfingeralbum. Well it’s got some dark clouds on the front cover so you know it’s gunna be good.
Seriously though, Stew has been dealt a pretty poor hand of late. I was therefore expecting a bit of a poor bloody me album. Couldn’t be further from the truth. It feels more like an album about love, connection and the lust for life. From the very first Brother Brick-ian strums of “You Think So” I was smiling. I danced, I cried, I air guitared and cried a little more (yeah yeah I played side 3 first). Incredible song writing. Beautiful record. Love the production and the packaging. Every silver cloud has a dark lining.
5. Mad Max It’s no secret we are big Mad Max fans. We have had the pleasure of hanging out with & playing our MFP tune to a lot of the original cast. Fifi, Goose, Charlie, The Night Rider, Cundalini but earlier this year singing “Johnny the boy has done it again” on the back of a truck with Johnny the Boy AKA Tim Burns standing in the crowd in front of me smiling was pretty special.
4. Wasteland At the drive in. No, not the band. Wasteland the documentary screened at the skyline drive-in in Blacktown. A Doco about Mad Mad Max fans. Forgot how much I loved the drive-in as a kid and then we got to see ourselves, very briefly on the big screen
3. Rot TV. Some pretty cool guitar picking on their debut album. It’s good, in a New Yorky, Detroitian, 1st wave British punk, ‘80s Melbourne, new era Scandinavian kind way. I like it. Well worth tracking down. Finger picking good.
2. The Owen Guns Yeah, they have a potty mouth. Yeah, I don’t quite get the contempt for either cyclist or ska music but The Owen Guns smashing out "C.S.M.F." live in Dapto was one of my rock n roll highlights for 2022.
1. Psychotic Turnbuckles Coming out of the rock ‘n’ roll Corona abyss for a tag team rumble with the Psychotic Turnbuckles in front of a very solid crowd at the Marrickville Bowlo was tops. They were on fire. The lead up banter with Jesseand the girls was pretty cool too. There is no disputing The Turnbuckles are still the undefeated champions of the Universe.
And Best song of 2022 goes to Bad//Dreems… What ya think about that? Jack!
Rob Younger at The Factory Theatre. Shona Ross photo.
Radio Birdman + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers + East Coast Low Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW Friday, June 21, 2019
Radio Birdman + Mick Medew & The Mesmerisers + The Dark Clouds Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW Saturday, June 22, 2019
The Aints! + Colonel Kramer & The Eamon Dilworth One Man Brass Ensemble Factory Theatre, Marrickville, NSW Friday, June 28, 2019
Your own legacy is a hard act to follow. This is a tale of two bands.
On one hand you have Radio Birdman, a thoroughly re-tooled and different beast to its previous incarnations and still carrying a substantial reputation. They’re a prime reason why The I-94 Bar exists.
On the other, you have The Aints!, who are led by foundation Saints member Ed Kuepper and armed with a setlist partly planted in that band’s past, with the balance comprising songs that were written for the old band but never recorded.